LAURA Massaro has announced she will retire at the end of the season and bring her glittering career to a close.

The 35-year-old from Chorley - who has won 23 professional tour titles - revealed she thought long and hard about making the decision but decided it was the right call after 16 years at the top.

The former world champion will take part in both the Manchester Open and the Allam British Open in Hull this month before hanging up her racquet.

Massaro said she knew in her heart is was time to call time on her career but is now looking forward to saying farewell in front of a home crowd.

“After a lot of thought and discussion with my family and my team, I have decided to retire at the end of this season,” said the Hoghton-based star. “Even though this decision is never easy for any athlete, I’ve had 16 years on the professional tour and I know in my heart that this is the right time.

“My final two events will be on home soil at the Manchester Open and the Allam British Open in Hull and I can’t think of a better way to say goodbye to the squash family and everyone who has supported me over the years.”

It’s fitting that Massaro will bow out at Hull having twice won the British Open title in East Yorkshire - her first victory over long-time rival Nicol David in 2013 saw her become the first British women to win the title in 22 years.

She also became the first British woman to hold the World and British Open titles at the same time after beating Nour El Sherbini in Malaysia in March 2014.

In January, 2016, Massaro became world number one for the first time in her career and a second British Open title arrived in 2017 when she beat Sarah-Jane Perry in an-England final.

In the same year, Massaro won the World Series Finals in Dubai.

“I have given all I have to be the best squash player that I can be so there will be no regrets or thoughts of what might have been.” said Massaro. “I feel proud of how hard I’ve worked and how I’ve overcome the many bumps in the road that come with a career in top level sport just as much as the things I’ve achieved on court.

“I feel very lucky to have had the experiences I’ve had, playing a sport that I’ve loved since I was a little girl.”

Massaro said she is now looking forward to the future and she plans to stay in the game.

She said: “I’m excited about the future and I’m looking forward to sharing what I’ve learned and hopefully giving back to the sport that has given me so much.

“I’d like to thank everyone at England Squash and the PSA and especially my husband Danny and my family, my coach DP (David Pearson) and everyone in my team.

“Most of all I’d like to thank everyone who has cheered me on. Squash fans are an amazingly committed and passionate bunch.”